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Vital to strengthen British, China green financial collaboration: City of London mayor

Russell said despite some differences that the two sides have on certain things, “that doesn’t mean we can’t still be business to business.”

LONDON, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) — China is “wonderful and brilliant” on its carbon emission commitments and the City of London looks forward to continuing strong relationship and strengthening green collaboration with Chinese partners, said William Russell, lord mayor of the City of London.

“It’s very important to strengthen the collaboration between the two sides,” the mayor told Xinhua in a recent interview. “One of the areas that we’re very keen to strengthen is around green finance.”

Russell, currently serving as the co-chair for the UK-China Green Finance Taskforce alongside Dr. Ma Jun, chairman of the China Green Finance Committee, told Xinhua that both sides have had lots of virtual meetings recently in the run-up to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow, Britain in November.

The COP26 is “one of the biggest events for the UK and the world… I fear that climate change will be a lot worse unless we address it very quickly,” he said.

Talking about the collaboration with Chinese partners in green finance, Russell said: “I think China has made great progress, and it’s moving very fast, and we will continue to work with China to help with that progress.”

“We’re learning from each other and working together with each other,” he added.

Impressed by Chinese firms’ understanding on how critical the ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) is for the world, the mayor said: “It was really refreshing to see how China is moving forward…China recognizes that has to come down not only for the world, but for the Chinese people.”

Highlighting how finance is crucial to get the world to net zero emissions, Russell said: “It’s about greening finance and financing green. And eventually that word ‘green’ will not be in the word ‘finance’, because all finance has to be green and sustainable.”

Hailing China’s commitments to striving to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, Russell said: “I think it’s wonderful and brilliant that China has made those commitments and we respect that.”

“Knowing China as I do, it would not surprise me in any way if that came forward, because when China decides to deliver a commitment, normally not only delivers it, but normally delivers things ahead of time,” he said.

The mayor noted the rapid development of electric cars as well as solar panels in China. “So I look on always with huge respect and admiration of what China’s achieved,” he said.

Asked about the current headwinds facing the two countries, Russell said despite some differences that the two sides have on certain things, “that doesn’t mean we can’t still be business to business.”

“Here in the City of London, we have a huge history about being a trading city. And that trade is what we will continue to do with China, whatever some of the geopolitics are,” he said.

Noting that China has opened the door wider and wider in the financial sector, the mayor said it is great news and “we will hope to continue to work with China as the door opens wide, and it will be reciprocal.”

The mayor also welcomed more Chinese financial firms to come to the City of London to set up their offices.

“We will welcome that,” he said. ■

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